Training for excellence

New package of support for headteachers.

Headteachers across Scotland will be provided with extra support to deliver excellence in schools and work to close the attainment gap, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today as she hosted a summit on raising attainment in Scotland’s schools.

The First Minister also announced a training programme to strengthen community support in local areas to assist school leaders.

During a visit to Craigroyston Community High School, where Ministers met pupils from the school, the First Minister and Deputy First Minister John Swinney outlined plans to build on existing qualifications by providing additional training for both new and experienced headteachers.

As part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to learn from worldwide best practice in education, an international exchange programme for school leaders will also be developed, focused on learning and sharing school improvement and evaluation techniques.

Discussions at the summit, which is being attended by education leaders and political parties, will feed into the education delivery plan, which will be published by the end of the school year.

The First Minister said:

“Driving up attainment levels across Scotland’s schools is this government’s priority, and we will seek out and listen to all new ideas and innovative approaches to deliver results in education.

“That is why today’s summit is so important in bringing together experts from across Scotland and beyond to drive forward our plans to close the attainment gap and ensure our schools are world-leading.

“The discussions taking place today will inform our delivery plan for improving performance across Scotland. That plan will set out clear milestones for our next steps towards closing the attainment gap.

“To do this we know we must ensure our teachers are empowered to deliver excellence in classrooms every single day. We must support them in their efforts to use their professional expertise and deliver the first-class education we know they can.

“That is why the package of measures we’re introducing today will ensure our head teachers the support they need to help our young people reach their full potential.

“Crucially, it will also examine how we can harness the support of the community that exists around all of our schools to come together in a common focus to drive up standards.

Gillian Hamilton, CEO, Scottish College for Educational Leadership, added:

"When we talk to headteachers we see a real desire for high quality, sustained professional development that supports them in the challenging and rewarding role of headship. This package will meet that need and builds on SCEL's work in supporting educational leaders with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes for our schools, children and young people.

“We're committed to working with partners to develop and deliver an outstanding programme, and I look forward to the further benefits it will bring."

Jim Thewliss, General Secretary, School Leaders Scotland, said:

“The recognition of the key role played by headteachers in the delivery of high quality learning is both welcomed and reassuring. Headteachers remain committed to enhancing the life chances of young people through the ongoing improvement of every aspect of the learning experience.

“A commitment to professional support at all career stages recognises both the complexity and the continuously changing nature the headteacher's job. Further commitment to supporting and sustaining the professional development of headteachers through enabling access to the best of school leadership practice in learning and in improving schools is a welcome initiative.”

Notes to editors

The Scottish Government will commission the Scottish College for Educational Leadership, working with ADES, to deliver a package of support for head teachers. This will include:

  • Professional learning opportunities for existing headteachers to strengthen and expand school leadership skills – with a strong focus on school improvement and closing the attainment gap. This will be aligned with the new qualification for aspiring heads ‘Into Headship’ and the new ‘In Headship’ programme which is designed to provide headteachers in transitioning to their new role. The package which will be developed with partners and will include strategies for closing the attainment gap and how best to employ them locally, as well as financial management, improvement theory and data literacy.
  • An international exchange programme for school leaders, building on existing links and in partnership with School Leaders Scotland and Association of Heads and Deputes. This will focus on learning and sharing school improvement and evaluation techniques.
  • Working with local authorities to identify and train up community education champions in local areas to provide support to head teachers, in partnership with key stakeholders.

The Scottish College for Educational Leadership (SCEL) was established in 2014 to bring coherence to support teachers and practitioners to make a difference in the classroom, school and wider community through access to innovative and high quality leadership development programmes and activities.

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